Don chéad uair ó 1820, nuair a dhún Grúdlann Livingstone i gCathair na Mart, tá grúdlann áitiúil ag feidhmiú arís i gContae Mhaigh Eo. Thosaigh Caroline agus a fear céile, Iain Price, ag grúdú a mbeoracha féin in Oileán Éadaigh agus anois tá trí bheoir áitiúla ar dhíol acu. Is iad "Clew Bay Sunset", "Clifford's Connaught Champion", agus "Paddy's Pilgrim Porter". Tá siad ar fáil i bpubanna áitiúla ar fud an chontae: Needhams Halfway agus Key West in Oileán Éadaigh; McGing's, The Porterhouse, agus Hotel Westport i gCathair na Mart; Bosh, Johnnie McHale's agus Bar One i gCaisleán an Bharraigh agus le déanaí tá siad ar dhíol sa Mayfly Hotel i mBéal Easa.
Thosaigh Caroline agus Iain ag pleanáil an fhiontair seo in 2008 agus faoi láthair tá foirgneamh grúdlainne acu ar a bhfeirm in Oileán Éadaigh. Deir Iain, a rinne staidéar ar an ngrúdaireacht agus a bhfuil dioplóma aige ón Institiúid Grúdaireachta agus Driogaireachta sa Ríocht Aontaithe, "We wanted a project that tied in with our small farm and provided us with an extra source of income from it. As the main ingredients are water, barley and hops, beer-making is a very natural process." Mar chuid den phróiseas nádúrtha atá ar siúl acu, úsáideann siad raideog (bog myrtle), comhábhar traidisiúnta a bhí in úsáid sa phróiseas grúdaireachta sula raibh leannlusanna (hops) ar fáil. Deir Caroline agus Iain go bhfuil blas álainn le baint ó raideog agus go bhfuil buntáistí leigheasacha aici.
Tá roinnt poiblíochta faighte acu cheana féin ar TV3 agus ar Mayo TV agus tá Beoir Oileán Éadaigh faoi lánseol anois ag dul ó neart go neart. "Feedback has been phenomenal", a deir Caroline, "from locals and visitors alike. Everyone seems to love the taste".
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For the first time since the 1820’s (when Livingston’s brewery closed in Westport) Mayo has its own locally brewed beer on sale. The brainchild of Caroline and Iain Price of Oileán Éadaigh, three locally brewed craft beers are on sale.
The duo have been planning the venture since 2008 and now have a purpose built facility on their farm in Islandeady. With the support of Leader and their own determination that the west is ready for craft beer, the three beers called “Clew Bay Sunset”, described as a full bodied red ale, and 3C “Clifford’s Connaught Champion”, a golden flavoursome beer, and ‘Paddy’s Pilgrim Porter’ are now on sale. Conceived as a farm diversification project the brewery idea, though new to this county, is part of a growing movement towards craft beers and locally sustainable produce throughout Europe.
Iain Price who studied brewing in the UK and holds a Diploma in Brewing from The Institute of Brewing and Distilling said “We wanted a project that tied in with our small farm and provided us with an extra source of income from it. As the main ingredients are water, barley and hops, beer-making is a very natural process”.
Indeed as they progressed the couple discovered that they even have a natural traditional ingredient used in brewing in Ireland growing in abundance on an area of the farm. Bog myrtle was used in this part of the world to flavour beer before hops became popular. The couple hope to harvest and use the bog myrtle in future beers not only for its abundance of flavour but also its medicinal properties. Another positive outcome of the brewing process is that the spent grain and hops can be fed to cattle and pigs who greet them with great gusto – so no waste and everyone’s a winner.